What Is Self-Medication And Why Do People Self-Medicate?

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The 2017 Health Conference primarily focused on outbreaks of diseases. There was a discussion on the typhoid fever situation among students in an Indonesian school. The causes, symptoms, and the size of the outbreak was also talked about by researchers, clinicians, and health professionals. The tuberculosis outbreak in the Western parts of Indonesia was also one of the essential topics of the conference, as Indonesia is on the top ten list of the most incidences of TB worldwide. Lastly, the topic of self-medication practices among students, teens, and adults alike.

What is self-medication and why do people self-medicate?

The conventional meaning of self-medication is “the consumption of drugs and other home remedies on one’s own will or from another individual’s suggestion without seeking help from a qualified physician.” Self-medication is a typical practice as it is a kind of self-care for our mental and physical health. Self-medicating for small injuries like wounds, minor headaches, and mild types of pain may help alleviate the burden of our healthcare system. Thus, it is a usual practice in most states of America.

However, the risk with self-medication arises when people medicate themselves even when their conditions are more serious, specifically mental health conditions, which demand proper treatment from a medical professional. Instead of going to a psychiatrist or therapist for that, most people use over-the-counter medications and supplements, sometimes with other substances like drugs or alcohol. These will most likely lead to the development of new conditions.

Reasons For Self-Medication

There is minimal positive outcome with self-medicating for mental health conditions, and what’s worse is that it may even potentially increase the likelihood of worsening the symptoms. But for these people who self-medicate, that rationale may be pushed aside. And if you come to think of it, most of the reasons are understandable. These are:

  • They are afraid to get treatment because of the negative stigma.
  • Consulting a doctor and getting treatment for a mental health condition is expensive.
  • Some people are scared to accept their condition.
  • They are afraid of the ill side effects of the targeted medications.

A doctor and couple talking : Free Stock Photo

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All these may not make sense to other people, but it is vital to try somehow to understand and consider these people’s reasons. If you are trying to help someone who is practicing self-medication to cope with his mental health disease, be empathic and compassionate. This way, it will be easier to guide them into getting the proper treatment.